• Lon Tonneson

    Another Wetland Snafu

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 18, 2014

    About a dozen farmers near the small northeast South Dakota town of Claremont recently received wetland violation letters for a ditch they say they dug to save their town from flooding in 2011. They claim they received permission from the township, the county and even the local NRCS wetland specialist (now retired) for the project. No federal money was involved. No cost sharing. The landowners got together, pooled their money and dug the canal themselves. Now, three years later, someone has…

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  • Curt Arens

    Going to the Birds a Sign of Farm Landscape Diversity

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 15, 2014

    On our farm, we raised and marketed black oil sunflowers as wild bird seed for almost 10 years. So, in an effort to understand our customers, the folks who regularly feed songbirds around their homes and gardens, our family set up our own feeding stations, and we learned plenty about the songbirds that inhabit our region. In other words, we were happy to have our farm “go to the birds.” Researchers say that having healthy populations of songbirds living and singing around your…

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  • Curt Arens

    Farmers Say that Conservation is Cool

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 8, 2014

    Unless you take in upcoming showings of movies like Farmland or the Great American Wheat Harvest, you have to look for mainstream media sources that actually share positive modern stories of farmers and ranchers. Evidently, most of those sources don’t see modern agriculture as dramatic, emotional or trendy. It’s easier to find the bad actors in the industry and make blanket, generalized statements to include all farmers and ranchers as greedy folks who only care about a making a…

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  • Curt Arens

    Out on a Limb: A Few of My Favorite Trees

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 28, 2014

    In this special Out on a Limb blog entry, I want to talk about a few of my favorite trees. These are not recommendations for your farmstead. With spring around the corner, hopefully, we start looking over garden catalogs and visiting our favorite tree nurseries to search for trees and shrubs to plant around our farms and ranches. The greatest challenge for me is narrowing down my planting choices and finding the right location for the trees I really want to plant every year. Over the years…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Who Knew About MDA's Advisory Committee Filing Deadline?

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on March 4, 2014

    In its February notice of board and committees vacancies, the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State posted that the Minnesota Department of Agriculture was seeking applicants for the 15-member Agricultural Water Quality Certification Advisory Committee. The term for the first committee that helped launch the state’s new ag water quality certification pilot program is ending later this spring. Application forms were available online and had to be submitted by February 25. I learned…

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  • Curt Arens

    Cover Crop Reflections

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 4, 2014

    I attended one of the broadcast locations at the NRD office in Norfolk of the opening forum of the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health that took place in Omaha in February. As I sat there, taking in testimonials from farmers and policy makers about the benefits of cover crops to soil health, I couldn’t help but remind myself that this is not something we’ve discovered recently. It is an ancient idea. In ancient China and India and in early Roman times, bell beans…

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  • Curt Arens

    Out on a Limb: Tips for Proper Tree Pruning

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 28, 2014

    In this special Out on a Limb blog entry, I will address a few tips on proper pruning techniques. At one of the UNL tree care workshops I’ve attended over the years, I have heard foresters say many times that the best time to prune a tree is when you have time to do it. In other words, prune whenever it is convenient, and your saw is sharp. However, the actual best time for most broadleaf trees is in winter or early spring, before the trees display buds. So, that time is drawing near…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Super-Sized Equipment Not Suited for Highly Erodible Ground

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on February 14, 2014

    A regular contributor to Wallaces Farmer magazine, Jason Johnson has written an article that will appear in our March issue about how to match machinery size to soil conservation needs when farming Iowa's steep slopes. As machinery gets wider, particularly planters, this is getting to be a big concern in local soil and water conservation district offices in the state. The increasing size of farm machinery is making it more difficult for row crop farmers to maneuver Iowa's hillier…

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  • Curt Arens

    Out On a Limb: Planting Trees on a Treeless Plain

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on January 10, 2014

    Over the past year, I’ve written numerous bonus blogs each month featuring the “Families That Grow Our Food,” hoping to tell the ag story to our urban friends by relating the back stories of many of the interviews we’ve written in recent years about hardworking farm and ranch families. Now, it’s a new year and I’ll take on a new topic in bonus monthly blogs. One of my interests as a farmer over the years has been trees, woodlands, shelterbelts and orchards…

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  • Tim White

    USDA Helps Ohio Livestock Farmers Control Birds

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on January 7, 2014

    How cold is it? For starters the keyboard of my office computer feels icy, the window next to me that overlooks Main St. in Lancaster blows chilled air through the crack of the sill, and my betta fish is swimming so slowly at the bottom of his bowl that it looks like he’s in dormancy. At home, the dog won’t stay outside for more than 3 minutes, the woodpile is shrinking as the hot-stove monster growls for more logs, my wife is cuddled next to the stove watching football and hockey…

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